Given the lack of interventions that can deliver cure for patients of autism, they are limited to therapies that can improve the quality of their lives. The main goal of an autism behavior therapy is, in general, tri-fold – to lessen the impairments and distress associated with the symptoms, improve the lives of the patients, and allow them to become more capable of functioning independently. Although there are a lot of contradictions in the efficacy of various therapies, evidence still suggests that conducting interventions is more preferable and relatively more effective at achieving the aforementioned goals than not doing anything at all. There are a number of therapies currently in use today; some of them are briefly discussed below:
Educational interventions are not exclusively focused in helping patients of autism acquire the necessary skills to understand academic subjects as well as ready them to traditional school settings. Instead, these interventions give more weight to helping patients develop skills that can make them more functional in most types of situations, cognitive skills to help them exercise mental functions, social skills to help them build social relationships and respond better to social stimuli, communication skills to develop their capacity to interact with others and to use acceptable means of expressing their ideas and feelings, to try to reduce their unwanted behaviors, along with others.
There are many educational interventions that can demonstrate varying degrees of efficacy. Applied Behavior Analysis includes all other methods used in behavioral analysis. These basically objectively measure the observed behavior of autistic children based on their responses to stimuli and the effects of rewards on their behaviors. In general, this group of techniques has demonstrated results in controlled environments, but it is not known whether these results will hold in actual settings.
Structured teaching, short for TEACCH or Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children, uses highly structured methods and environments to treat patients of autism.
Communication interventions or speech therapy, on the other hand, tries to resolve the patients’ inability to express themselves more effectively. One striking symptom of autism is speech impairment. This therapy attempts to help diminish, if not correct, speech development-related problems.
Other educational interventions that are widely used nowadays are patterning, pivotal response therapy, therapies that focus on Sensory Integration Dysfunction, music therapy, animal-assisted therapy, a home-based program called Son-Rise, neurofeedback, aversion or electric shock therapy, and others.
This group of autism behavior therapies concern parents more than their autistic children. These commonly provide practical advises to make them more capable of handling their children’s condition.
Medical management is a body of interventions that involves the use of supplements, drugs, and changes in diet to alter factors that are known to stimulate the onset of the symptoms. Other medical management methods include chelation therapy, craniosacral therapy, chiropatic, electroconvulsive therapy, stem cell therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and prosthetics. To know which autism behavior therapy can help a patient best, it is advisable to seek medical advice.